London Eye guide
Your guide to visiting the world's most famous observation wheel
Fri Aug 23 2013
Opened in 2000 to provide views of landmarks – the Palace of Westminster immediately southwest, St Paul’s Cathedral and the City just northeast and, on a clear day, Windsor Castle more than 25 miles away – the London Eye has since become a landmark itself. Get up close and it’s easy to see why: at 394 feet tall and with 32 pods (one for every London borough), the Eye is less an observation wheel than a feat of engineering, strung together with tensioned steel cables that look (and act) like spokes on a bicycle, and decorated with LED lights capable of generating millions of colours. Circuits last 30 minutes, and these days come with a range of optional extras including champagne, chocolate, a Thames cruise and, for the rich and misanthropic, privacy.
The London Eye opening times and ticketing information
The Eye opens at 10am every day except Christmas, while closing times vary according to season (8.30pm during winter months and 9 or 9.30pm during the spring and summer, with a few exceptions on holidays). Prices favour the well-organised, with 10 percent discounts (£17.28 down from £19.20) available on timed ‘standard’ tickets booked online in advance. ‘Flexi’ tickets are also available, either for the day or week of your choice, but you’ll pay progressively more for the privilege (£20.28 and £25.28 respectively, last we checked).
Where is the London Eye?
The Eye sits between Jubilee Gardens and the Thames just 5 minutes east of Waterloo station (accessible both by rail and by tube), though visitors travelling along the District or Circle lines will find it easier (and far more scenic) to alight at Westminster station and walk across Westminster Bridge. Charing Cross and Embankment tube stations are also within comfortable walking distance, and nearby bus routes include the 211, 77 and 381.
Extras, combo tickets and 4D cinema at the London Eye
Most of the Eye’s extras involve booze, food or some combination of the two, and many include a cheeky second go-round for good measure. The ‘Hotel Chocolat Tasting Experience’ – which includes a personal host, chocolate and truffle tasting session, two glasses of prosecco and a few extra goodies – is broadly representative of what to expect, both in experience and price (£45 per person). That’s unless you book a private capsule, which will set you back at least £500. Combination tickets are also available, and include entry to popular attractions such as Madame Tussauds, the London Aquarium, the London Dungeon and London Eye River Cruises. Buy online and you’ll save up to 30 percent – a genuine deal if two or more of the attractions are on your to-do list. No matter your ticket, you’ll also get free entry to the Eye’s 4D cinema experience, a sort of seagull-eyed preview of the real deal, complete with fake snow and simulated fireworks.
- Rated as: 4/5
- Price band: 1/4
- Critics choice
- 191 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UX
London Eye in pictures
© Olivia Rutherford / Time Out
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